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#53424 - 01/21/02 11:58 PM The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
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Just a thought: beknight, bestow, bequeath, becalm...all indicate adding something. So why does behead imply taking something away? ( Unless, of course, it means adding something to the basket ).


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#53425 - 01/22/02 01:10 AM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
Bingley Offline
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bereft of any adequate explanation, I remain, dear Sir, your most humble and obedient servant,

Bingley
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#53426 - 01/22/02 08:58 AM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
of troy Offline
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you could also be bereaved, or bereft.. as a result of something being taken away.. (a person or your poise.) and you final bequest would be something you are giving away.. (not just that i am getting!)

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#53427 - 01/22/02 11:41 AM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
wwh Offline
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The "be" prefix seems to me to indicate a change of state.


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#53428 - 01/22/02 11:59 AM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
of troy Offline
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what changes state in because?

actually it does make sense-- it is almost as if the verb to be is added to the word..

butreft? reeve, i know, but reave? quest is from quote-- (last words)

and i guess then be head-- the body changes state-- from one with a head to one with out..

speaking of which...has anyone seen the great commercial for ??? with claymation figures..

He is sitting at a candle lit table, eating and all he is talking is business.. she listens politely for a while, and then.. walks over to him, stands behind him, rubs his shoulder, and then YanK! off comes his head, leaving behind a little ball joint (like a pop bead) she walk over to the closet -- meanwhile he is continuing to talk business, almost oblivious of his bodiless state...

in the closet, she plops his head on shelf,( and suddenly he realizes what has happened, and laspes into silence!) She takes another one off the shelf.. and walks back and pops it onto the body at hand..

Newly conscious, the head looks around, notes candles, dinner and pretty lady, and starts sweets talking..

boy, if life where only like that!

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#53429 - 01/22/02 10:43 PM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
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It seems, however, that in all the offered specimens, that there, at least, is an inherent ambiguity in the
be- prefix as in become, which connotes a change to be sure, but it can be either a loss or a gain. Bereft and bereave do, deed, indicate loss as in derpivation or saddened emotion, but with the same ambiguity, you could also say they are adding deprivation or grief to the condition of the party or parties involved. Behead/beheading is the only one, so far, that seems to indicate loss only. Unless the ambiguity creeps in, perhaps, with its coinage in the days of yore when rulers asked for and were presented the heads of those ordered executed...whereby, in presenting such, you are giving the victim's head to, or beheading, the ruler (this is purely conjecture). Now I guess I'll have to scour the be- section of the dictionary to see if I can come up with any more examples that seem to purely connote loss/subtraction.


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#53430 - 01/23/02 01:20 AM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
Capital Kiwi Offline
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If you take the "be-" prefix and expand it back to "being" which is where I think it came from, it should all "become" clear. "Beheaded" becomes "Being headed", "Because" becomes "being caused (by)", yadda, yadda.

It's a verbal shorthand which has become part of the language. Or should I say "being come" part of the language?

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#53431 - 01/30/02 02:24 PM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
Fiberbabe Offline
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Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 771
Loc: Portland, Oregon
What about bespeak and befoul? Later edit: Oooh! Bemuse!

Behemoth? Noun though it be ooh! I made a funny!, does it have any place in this conversation?


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#53432 - 01/30/02 02:36 PM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
Faldage Offline
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Behemoth

Be he butterfly! That's what he be he!!!

    -- Albert the Alligator in response to being bitten by the butterfly that had strapped on a set of false teeth and was going around biting people.


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#53433 - 01/30/02 06:28 PM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
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behemoth Be he butterfly!

Be he chrysalis! Be he both chrysalis first! So be the chrysalis a beheboth?
Or is this all too befuddling?


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#53434 - 01/31/02 04:46 PM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
Keiva Offline
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It seems, however, that in all the offered specimens, that there, at least, is an inherent ambiguity in the
be- prefix


As usual, Shakespeare best expressed that ambiguity: "To be- or not to be-; that is the question".


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#53435 - 02/02/02 12:27 PM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
Faldage Offline
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I've been meaning to get around to this for sime time and finally got off my duff.

The be- prefix in Old English had three possible meanings.

Quoted from A Guide to Old English by Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson:

be-
1 In some words be- is the same as the prep. 'about', e.g. be-gan'surround' and be-ridan 'ride
around, surround'.

2 Sometimes it is a deprivative, e.g. be-dælan 'deprive' and be-heafdian 'behead'.

3 It can make an intransitive verb transitive, e.g. be-<THORN>encan 'think about' and be-wepan 'bewail'.


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#53436 - 02/02/02 02:42 PM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
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Registered: 03/13/01
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Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
Thanks for that, Faldage! To be- or not to be- is no longer the be- question! (or be- quest!)

So I guess the only item left here to bequestion the Board with is "do you consider betrothed to be a gaining or losing, or both?


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#53437 - 02/02/02 05:18 PM Re: The be- prefix: adding or subtracting?
Keiva Offline
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Sometimes it is a deprivative, e.g. 'behead'.

Faldage is of course cross-threading to "bobbit".
We are much beholden to you, sir.

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#53438 - 02/02/02 09:50 PM Re: Speaking for Keiva
Faldage Offline
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I would say that he apologizes to me for suggesting that I intended something that I neither intended nor, in retrospect, recognized that I intended.

The thread started with: why does behead imply taking something away?

[cross thread]Please do not ever presume to put words in my mouth[/cross thread]






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#53439 - 02/03/02 12:23 AM Re: speaking facetiously
Keiva Offline
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My dear faldage, and not to pick nits, but there's such a thing as speaking facetiously, and I'd think there's a great difference between

"faldage says _______ [ wink ]" and
"keiva says ________ [no wink]"

I agree with you that a winkless misquote might well call for an apology.


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#53440 - 02/03/02 07:52 AM Re: speaking facetiously
Faldage Offline
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I would like to apologize publicly to Keiva for not using smileys (except facetiously)


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#53441 - 02/03/02 09:54 AM Re: speaking facetiously
Keiva Offline
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Registered: 08/04/01
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Huh? No apology needed here, buddy. LMBYAB. [beer -e]


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